According to a survey conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, close to 80 percent of physicians who are also mothers are victims of workplace discrimination. Nearly 6,000 women responded to the survey, which posed questions about the respondents’ physical, mental and reproductive health as well as questions about their experiences with discrimination or burnout at their places of work.
Thirty-five percent of the women stated that they experienced maternal discrimination, such as discrimination because they had to breast-feed, take maternity leave or do any other task related to being a mother. Sixty-six percent of the respondents stated that they had been victims of some form of gender discrimination.
The survey respondents included women professionals from a wide range of medical specialties, such as emergency medicine, anesthesia, psychiatry, radiology dermatology, internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, surgery, ophthalmology, neurology, pediatrics and family medicine. The women were employed in a variety of institutions, including public hospitals, VA and military practices, academic medical centers and HMOs. Forty-six percent of the women had two children, while 30 percent had one child and 23 percent had at least three.
Nearly 39 percent of the respondents stated that they had experienced rude treatment from their coworkers. The disrespectful behavior included failing to be consulted for administrative decisions and not being paid as well as their male peers.
People who have experienced workplace discrimination or harassment because of their race, gender, age, religion or disability should speak with an attorney who practices employment law. The attorney may evaluate the circumstances surrounding a client’s case and may suggest that the matter first be dealt with through internal channels. If that proves to be fruitless, the next step might be the filing of a claim with the EEOC.